Characteristics of misdemeanants treated for competency restoration

Artha Gillis, Brian Holoyda, William J. Newman, Machelle D. Wilson, Glen Xiong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


There are an estimated 60,000 evaluations annually for competence to stand trial for felony indictments and likely more for misdemeanor indictments. Thus, there is an increasing interest in determining factors associated with a defendant’s likelihood of being restored to competence to stand trial. Although previous studies have found that a misdemeanor charge predicts significantly less likelihood of restoration of competence when compared with felony charges, states typically allow treatment facilities less time to restore misdemeanor defendants than felony defendants. As there are no studies examining factors associated with restoration of competence to stand trial for misdemeanor defendants, separately from felony defendants, we conducted a retrospective study to examine demographic, clinical, and forensic characteristics associated with restoration of competence to stand trial of misdemeanor defendants. Almost 70 percent of defendants regained competence to stand trial during the study period. When restorable, defendants regained competence in less than three weeks, on average, which addresses a current question in the field regarding time limits for restoration of competence to stand trial. Single marital status and length of stay in the treatment facility during restoration of competence to stand trial were significantly associated with restorability. States may consider such factors when developing and reviewing time limit policies in consideration of the Jackson v. Indiana ruling and when designing interventions aimed at restoring competence to stand trial to misdemeanor defendants in a cost-efficient manner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)442-450
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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